Our last blog post was over a month ago! I assure you we are still alive and kicking. And, in response to Nikki, a recent commenter, we will keep on blogging. The problem has been that we’ve been away from our beloved vessel for the past month and we’ve been extremely busy. Here are a few photos from before we left Panama:
Here is a brief summary of our whirlwind month in the U.S.:
We flew back to the States the day after Christmas. I flew to Green Bay, Wisconsin to work for a few days, while Cindy flew to Ohio to be with family. I rejoined my wife on New Year’s Eve to celebrate the beginning of 2017 with family. On the third of January, I flew back to sub-zero temperatures in Wisconsin for ten additional days of labor at the Bellin Health emergency department. On the fourth, Cindy flew to California to be with our four-month old grandson, James. On the thirteenth, I flew out to California to partake in the grandchild love-fest. This was to be short-lived however. Having only one full day to visit with my son, his wife, and our grandson (and our wonderful hosts, Deanna and Gordon), Cindy and I flew to Vero Beach, Florida on the 15th. Given its proximity to Lakeland, Cindy was able to meet up with some old friends while I worked a few more days in the emergency department at Indian River Medical Center. On the 19th, we drove to Tampa, where we would meet up with Julie and Tracy for the largest RV show in the United States. As usual, it was great hanging out with them while looking at RVs. Then, on the 23rd, the day before yesterday, we boarded the plane in Tampa for our return trip to Panama. A long taxi-ride later landed us at Shelter Bay Marina around 1:45 a.m., yesterday morning. Whew! We were so happy not to be greeted with mold and mildew covering everything from wall to ceiling. We arrived to minimal mold. I’m not sure if wiping everything down with vinegar prior to leaving helped, or if the primary factor was that Panama has finally entered its dry season. The daily deluges have desisted.
Besides spending time with family, one of the most exciting events for me was to attend the Green Bay Packers wild card playoff game vs. the New York Giants. Sitting in the storied Lambeau Field (“The Frozen Tundra”) watching the Green Bay Packers was amazing. My co-workers in Green Bay provided additional heavy clothing which kept me adequately warmed for the 11°F temperatures. The home team, who I have followed since childhood (although they rank behind my two favorite teams, the Atlanta Falcons and Pittsburgh Steelers) earned the victory, making the partisan crowd extremely happy. I sat next to a gentlemen who flew all the way from Scotland the day before the game and would fly back to Scotland the next day. He was a life-long Packer fan who had never seen an NFL game in person. This was his once-in-a-lifetime chance to see his favorite team. He talked to me almost the entire game, but I was only able to decipher a small portion of what he said because of his strong Scottish accent.
The Tampa RV show was also great. The weather was warm and sunny. Cindy, Julie, Tracy and I spent nine hours on Friday wandering through acres of RVs in an attempt to locate our future home. By the end of that day, we had narrowed our choices down to five 5th wheels. Although we were open to changing our mind, we had pretty much decided beforehand that a 5th wheel was the way to go for us. After revisiting the five semi-finalists, we narrowed it down to two — a 40′ Montana and a 36′ Bighorn. Finally, we decided on the 36′ Bighorn. After some intense haggling, we got the price we wanted (Thanks to Tracy! If you need a good negotiator, I can highly recommend her.). We then put down a deposit on the vehicle of our next adventure. By the way, on the way to Tampa from Vero Beach, we also stopped at a Ram dealership to test drive a Ram 3500 dually diesel, which will likely be the vehicle to tow our RV across North America. Woohoo!
Here is a link to the official site of the Bighorn 3160EL.
So… What’s happening with Beatitude, you ask? She remains docked at Shelter Bay Marina awaiting her lightning-strike repairs. No work has actually been performed yet, but parts have been ordered and some are aboard. In fact, we brought back a number of items in our checked luggage from the states, including a 61 pound charger/inverter, an alternator for our engine, and a membrane for our water maker. I hope and pray that most of the work is completed before we return to the states in the middle of February. I’m sure that, once these initial repairs are performed, a few other things will pop up that will need fixing. We are still hoping to start making our way northward sometime in March. I love being on the boat and on the water, and Shelter Bay Marina has decent facilities. But, there is not much adventure being tied to a dock. I am so anxious to cast off the lines once again to enjoy the open water and sail, swim, snorkel, fish and dive to our hearts’ content.